The Moth Visits Skidmore for an Intimate Week of Storytelling
The Moth, a popular storytelling nonprofit, visited Skidmore to lead three days of educational workshops with students and faculty, which all culminated into a StorySLAM event that took place on Sept. 30 at Zankel. A total of ten students took to the mic to tell a five-minute story without notes, resulting in an intriguing talk about their personal transformations.
From Friday to Sunday this past week, The Moth led a group of 56 students, who were split into morning and weekend groups, in workshops over the weekend, and a group of faculty and staff on Friday, in telling stories about their lives. The student storytellers attended a three-hour workshop each day — six hours in total— to build their story performance.
At the end of the week, and hours before the event, the students put their names in a hat. At random, ten people were chosen to perform and tell their five-minute story on stage in a sold-out, and very live, Zankel audience.
All of the stories told by students were “true stories told live” about real life experiences they had. The ten students who stepped on stage revealed deeply personal parts of their lives, stories and memories that transformed them into the people they are today.
The event began with the MC, Micaela Blei, the director of Community and Education at the Moth, asking the audience a question: “When was the last time you felt like an adult?” She also introduced the storytellers, and talked about the workshops they had participated in.
Every time the storyteller changed, Micaela made sure to ask them the same question the audeince had been meditating on.
This was not the only question asked that night. Backstage, each storyteller was asked what superpower they would want. Blei made sure to include their answers — which ranged from breathing underwater, to teleportation and even being Danny DeVito — when introducing them.
The show began with harmonica and drums from one-man-band Finley Tevlin ‘19, before Jonah Brenner ‘20, the first storyteller, hopped on stage and started the night off with a story about the tooth fairy.
After a great night of performances from the ten storytellers, the event made it clear how important it is to listen to other’s stories, especially because everyone goes through different hardships that are not always understood unless their perspective is known.
The Moth helps with just that; it gives spaces for these stories to live. The Moth breaks down barriers, which makes their program so successful and empowering.